News

Letter: Let’s temporarily close Main Street for our businesses and community

As we begin week 10 of shelter in place, many of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce members are struggling to hang on to their businesses until they can begin to reopen. Our business community has diligently followed the county’s orders and is anxiously awaiting the county’s approval of Phase 2 so they can take the next step to open their business in a safe way.

Let’s face it, many will not make it through this pandemic, as we heard recently with Nordstrom, JC Penney and Specialty’s Café & Bakery, to name just a few. Fortunately, others have pivoted their business so they can continue to operate and pay their bills and staff. The Federal Government, State and City are providing loan opportunities. However, this is not enough. We need to pivot as a community and seriously consider temporarily closing Main Street to traffic in a thoughtful way to allow our downtown businesses to serve their clients in a safe and open-air environment.

Our Farmer’s Market recently reopened with strong support from our community. First Wednesday’s were held for years downtown and were very popular and successful. Why can’t we do the same for our downtown businesses and community?

Due to Covid-19, downtown traffic has decreased and parking is more available than ever before. Now is the perfect time to temporarily close Main Street to traffic in a thoughtful way so we can bring more consumers downtown to support our businesses. Let’s do this Pleasanton!

-- Steve Van Dorn

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Letter: Let’s temporarily close Main Street for our businesses and community

Uploaded: Mon, May 18, 2020, 6:04 pm

As we begin week 10 of shelter in place, many of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce members are struggling to hang on to their businesses until they can begin to reopen. Our business community has diligently followed the county’s orders and is anxiously awaiting the county’s approval of Phase 2 so they can take the next step to open their business in a safe way.

Let’s face it, many will not make it through this pandemic, as we heard recently with Nordstrom, JC Penney and Specialty’s Café & Bakery, to name just a few. Fortunately, others have pivoted their business so they can continue to operate and pay their bills and staff. The Federal Government, State and City are providing loan opportunities. However, this is not enough. We need to pivot as a community and seriously consider temporarily closing Main Street to traffic in a thoughtful way to allow our downtown businesses to serve their clients in a safe and open-air environment.

Our Farmer’s Market recently reopened with strong support from our community. First Wednesday’s were held for years downtown and were very popular and successful. Why can’t we do the same for our downtown businesses and community?

Due to Covid-19, downtown traffic has decreased and parking is more available than ever before. Now is the perfect time to temporarily close Main Street to traffic in a thoughtful way so we can bring more consumers downtown to support our businesses. Let’s do this Pleasanton!

-- Steve Van Dorn

President and CEO

Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce

Comments

Jim Van Dyke (let's have the courtesy and courage to post real names)
Vintage Hills
on May 18, 2020 at 8:09 pm
Jim Van Dyke (let's have the courtesy and courage to post real names) , Vintage Hills
on May 18, 2020 at 8:09 pm
33 people like this

I think this is a great idea. If this happens, I'll be downtown–with my credit card–more often.


Ryan
Vintage Hills
on May 18, 2020 at 8:12 pm
Ryan, Vintage Hills
on May 18, 2020 at 8:12 pm
15 people like this

Great idea! Let’s make it happen!


Dick Van Dyke (agree courage and courtesy)
Ruby Hill
on May 18, 2020 at 9:31 pm
Dick Van Dyke (agree courage and courtesy), Ruby Hill
on May 18, 2020 at 9:31 pm
8 people like this

How about we start by opening it up freely first, no one is going downtown if we aren’t allowed to enjoy it


mirjamdijkxhoorn
Ruby Hill
on May 18, 2020 at 11:11 pm
mirjamdijkxhoorn, Ruby Hill
on May 18, 2020 at 11:11 pm
9 people like this

I think that is a great idea! It would provide much more space for outdoor seating and people will get used to it being closed to traffic during certain hours soon enough.


Concerned
Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 11:31 pm
Concerned , Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 11:31 pm
5 people like this

Just concerned about many of us having clients /. Customers with rehabilitation needs, disabilities how are they going to get to all of us for their health related services? Everyone will have to walk blocks...

Many can ride bikes and walk but what about those who can’t? How will they get to their appointments, favorite restaurants or shops?

I’m concerned this will hurt many people and small businesses as well.


DKHSK
Bridle Creek
on May 18, 2020 at 11:56 pm
DKHSK, Bridle Creek
on May 18, 2020 at 11:56 pm
17 people like this

Anybody that complains they don't go downtown because of traffic is out of their mind. It isn't that bad and you know it.

I've seen downtown go from mostly antique stores and a great hardware store, to italian restaurants, and now banks and real estate offices.

There isn't half as much to see/do downtown as there used to be, and I've only been here for 19 years.

Parking is fine most always except for events and even then, a little walk isn't that far. Have you tried parking in Danville or Livermore on a regular Friday/Saturday night?

Dan


Karl Aitken
Pleasanton Valley
on May 19, 2020 at 3:12 am
Karl Aitken, Pleasanton Valley
on May 19, 2020 at 3:12 am
9 people like this

High rents have had a very negative affect on downtown. It’s a nice place to walk, not so sure it’s the place to shop people wish it was.

Dan left nail salons / spas off his list. Given the large number of these establishments, maybe all the “traffic” is for them. Sarcastic ues - but how many of these places does a town of our size need?

Livermore has a much better selection of shops and places to eat.


DKHSK
Bridle Creek
on May 19, 2020 at 7:51 am
DKHSK, Bridle Creek
on May 19, 2020 at 7:51 am
13 people like this

Karl,

You're right, forgot about those businesses too.

There really isn't a reason to go downtown except for a few decent restaurants.

I remember when they used to close off downtown during the Good Guys West Coast Show and allow the car clubs to park and display their cars. Was a good time.

Dan


Steve Mc
Sycamore Heights
on May 19, 2020 at 8:23 am
Steve Mc, Sycamore Heights
on May 19, 2020 at 8:23 am
11 people like this

I think this is a great way to get people back into the downtown area. I know this isn’t a permanent change, and not a solution for everyone. But, let’s start solutions and we can expand from there. Having a 100% solution is not an acceptable reason to do nothing.


Dave
Birdland
on May 19, 2020 at 8:26 am
Dave, Birdland
on May 19, 2020 at 8:26 am
4 people like this

I am in favor of ideas like this that encourage safe biking/walking around main street. I will certainly feel motivated to leave our car at home and ride our bikes downtown instead, spending cash in the stores and restaurants more frequently.


IBBillyJ
Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 9:14 am
IBBillyJ, Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 9:14 am
6 people like this

I fully support this. A great jumpstart for restaurants and a start of the transition to whatever comes next.


Kandy WIlson
Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 9:22 am
Kandy WIlson, Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 9:22 am
8 people like this

Let's close the streets and support our businesses. I 100% agree to this idea. I love to walk downtown in Both Pleasanton can Livermore. An i want our restaurants, shops, hair salons, etc. reopened. Safety is of course our #1 goal, but we need to keep local support alive!


Dave L
Highland Oaks
on May 19, 2020 at 9:24 am
Dave L, Highland Oaks
on May 19, 2020 at 9:24 am
7 people like this

I say go for it. It can't hurt and if your going to open things, this creates space for people to separate if still concerned.
Yes Parking in Pleasanton Down Town may be challenging, but there are plenty of lots scattered around the town. I always find a spot. Sometimes its a little out of the way, but there is plenty o parking along the dormant rail tracks, and near the Ace Train Line.

#FREEPLEASANTON


30 year resident
Foothill High School
on May 19, 2020 at 9:41 am
30 year resident, Foothill High School
on May 19, 2020 at 9:41 am
10 people like this

Okay, just about everyone agrees. What does it take to actually make it happen NOW?


Willy
Old Towne
on May 19, 2020 at 9:44 am
Willy, Old Towne
on May 19, 2020 at 9:44 am
10 people like this

Let us make this happen ASAP. Finally some forward thinking for the City of Pleasanton to act on!


PJA
Birdland
on May 19, 2020 at 9:52 am
PJA, Birdland
on May 19, 2020 at 9:52 am
19 people like this

Let's not just close Main Street temporarily to cars, let's do it permanently! Walking through a nice downtown is one of the main reasons we all live here. Sidewalks outside Pastas and Alberto's are very tight, especially for families with strollers, so let's give them all more room to seat people outside, move walkers into what is now the street and allow for bikers to ride without having to worry about car doors!

In the "new world" restaurants will lose indoor seating capacity, which means lower revenue, so unless they increase the price of their food and drinks, they need to increase capacity outdoors. This can only be done if they are allowed to take over the sidewalks or have a satellite seating area in what is currently the street. Let's make our quaint downtown even more quaint by increasing our outdoor seating and taking advantage of our glorious East Bay weather!

Admittedly, parking will be a little harder with the loss of street parking, but that can be fixed with a multi-level garage on a side street like other cities have had to do. Or we can all walk a little farther. Can't hurt any of us to walk an extra block before and after supporting our downtown businesses that will die if we don't help them by increasing capacity and foot traffic in the new world we are living in.


Beth
Pleasanton Meadows
on May 19, 2020 at 10:26 am
Beth, Pleasanton Meadows
on May 19, 2020 at 10:26 am
10 people like this

Personally, I think that having a downtown street without cars would be lovely. I really like wandering around our downtown area. I also like the idea of coming up with a solution for more outside dining; that might be a big help for bringing the restaurants back. But, I don't really know whether the shop and restaurant owners would consider this to be a help or hindrance to their businesses. They have a lot of experience with the street being shut down for various events so should be able to give good input about this.

There are a couple of other things I can think of that need to be considered, however. Although many of us would not have any trouble walking longer distances, there are people who cannot do that. If there was way to deliver an elderly/disabled person to their destination shop/office/restaurant then shutting down the street to cars would be great I would think.

Also, if you buy something at a shop you have to then carry it back to your car. For little things this isn't a problem but for larger things... (If you have bought anything at the downtown antique fair you know that it can be challenging to have to carry things back to your car.) It's the same story if you have to deliver something heavy. I have had to take my son's (heavy) computer into the Apple repair shop downtown for repair. I think that the access to their parking lot is only from Main street. I couldn't have carried it any distance. Plus, how are the delivery people going to deliver goods to businesses that don't have access except from Main St.?





sanity
Mohr Park
on May 19, 2020 at 11:57 am
sanity, Mohr Park
on May 19, 2020 at 11:57 am
9 people like this

Wow, this is a terrible Idea...parking is already hard enough to find, how is that going to improve when you close the street and people have to find alternate parking...and where is that going to be? I predict that if this happens it will be the final nail in the coffin of an already dwindling clientele for the area, and largely self inflicted I might add. Don't bother slamming me, just put it on your calendar and meet me back here in a year for the "What ever happened to our poor closed up downtown" crying article. I've been here 25 years and watched the poor decisions over the years kill this once bustling local economy. Its has been all to obvious to me yet the the bad ideas continue. You get what you plan for. This is a plan to fail.


dknute
Golden Eagle
on May 19, 2020 at 12:13 pm
dknute, Golden Eagle
on May 19, 2020 at 12:13 pm
11 people like this

How about just opening the downtown to business before these draconian, stomping on first amendment rights totally Destroys our downtown businesses??
Closing the Main Street to auto traffic would be Just One More Stake in the Hearts of business owners, who now depend on ‘take-out orders to maintain some revenue.
Wake up and OPEN UP!


Lou Astbury
Kottinger Ranch
on May 19, 2020 at 12:31 pm
Lou Astbury, Kottinger Ranch
on May 19, 2020 at 12:31 pm
7 people like this

Closing Main Street would actually hurt current limitations to only curb side pick up. At risk citizens want convenient curb side pick up and not walking a block or more to pick up a carry out meal.


Mike
Val Vista
on May 19, 2020 at 1:07 pm
Mike, Val Vista
on May 19, 2020 at 1:07 pm
12 people like this

Closing Downtown to vehicle traffic sounds like a nice thing to do for a specific and tiny segment of Pleasanton businesses. Why not think about planning to help all businesses. Quaint downtown Pleasanton isn't the only place that needs help. Think of something to help all struggling businesses. Perhaps easing restrictions to allow other restaurants to place seats in the parking lot? Perhaps the Chamber of Commerce could think of Pleasanton as more than just a 1/2 mile stretch of Main street?


Pro-Law
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2020 at 2:20 pm
Pro-Law, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2020 at 2:20 pm
9 people like this

So where are people going to park now? Deeper into the residential neighborhoods? I’m not interested in walking five minutes to get stuff done when I can walk 10 seconds to a business somewhere else from my car. I imagine this will make Main St a complete ghost town. Might be nice for a Saturday stroll but what about people who work during the week and have to actually get stuff done? Main Street is called Main Street for a reason... it’s a key arterial type road that connects other pasts of the city. Traffic is already bad in Pleasanton and we are talking about shutting down a key road?


Willy
Old Towne
on May 19, 2020 at 2:26 pm
Willy, Old Towne
on May 19, 2020 at 2:26 pm
4 people like this

A 2 story parking garage would fix all! Do you hear that City Hall?


Cosmic-Charlie
Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 2:47 pm
Cosmic-Charlie, Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 2:47 pm
1 person likes this

Hey! I'm all for that! Sounds like a really good idea to me. However I'd like to at least wonder about people that need handicap parking to get to those stores. As a person who has difficulty in walking 10 ft to let alone one block, I would think that having at least half of parking spots made available for handicapped parking if we close the streets to a traffic. And the idea of making deliveries for those stores brings us to - what do you do with those vehicles?

This is the moment when I wonder if any consideration has been given to making Main Street a one-way Street. That could eliminate at least half the traffic downtown. And if that were the case, diagonal parking could increase the number of cars that could park on Main Street. You wouldn't have to have it be on both sides of the street if it was one way.

I have been a Pleasanton resident since 1966. All this time, I have loved this little town because of the Main Street and the small-town feel. When I get away from downtown to the outlying areas, Pleasanton still remains a small town.


Nancy Allen
Danbury Park
on May 19, 2020 at 6:16 pm
Nancy Allen, Danbury Park
on May 19, 2020 at 6:16 pm
6 people like this

I am excited for us to be able to test this concept out while helping our downtown businesses get back in business. As with all new concepts there are pros and cons (e.g, parking). I think the pros far outweight the cons. We need to help our small businesses get a jump start and help our community feel safer dining out. Will look forward to hearing the final recommendations of the Pleasanton Downtown Association as their businesses will be most impacted. Hopefuly this will come to the next Council meeting for review.


Mark Schwanhausser
Pleasanton Meadows
on May 19, 2020 at 10:19 pm
Mark Schwanhausser , Pleasanton Meadows
on May 19, 2020 at 10:19 pm
4 people like this

I’m excited by this idea, especially if it provided a way for struggling restaurants to provide some low-key, open-air, summery ambiance to a community and businesses suffering from a social-distancing reality. I see it as a worthy experiment, with the hope that sales and feedback would provide reason to consider something more sustainable and enhanced.

I get the concern about access. Not everyone is capable of walking up and down Main Street. And yet, I don’t hear folks complain when they schlep to Stoneridge Mall and face even longer walks through the parking lot and through the mall. Ditto for Walnut Creek.

So, I’m in favor of celebrating the eventual end of sheltering in place by giving this idea a go — rather than a “to go.”


Gord
Vintage Hills
on May 19, 2020 at 11:42 pm
Gord, Vintage Hills
on May 19, 2020 at 11:42 pm
7 people like this

I am all in favor of transforming main street to a pedestrian-only space, in order to open it up properly for business in new ways, and help restart the economy.

This could be an experiment for the next 6 months leading possibly to a permanent change, which I would support if it can achieve that goal of opening things up. It would get my business for both retail and eating out in a safer environment.

I have seen this done in other towns: There would be a need for a single lane, single direction roadway down the middle of the street, which would be reserved for (1) emergency services access and (2) delivery trucks during posted, strictly off-peak hours. The remainder of the time, that becomes the pedestrian walkway, with huge sidewalks either side for cafe dining / popup markets.

The handicap access is a non-problem. People will not have to 'walk blocks' any more than they do today. Just provide handicap parking 1 block away and within cross streets, throughout. Traveling just 1 block from car to store or restaurant or curbside pickup is reasonable for all, and more importantly is what we have today anyway.


sanity
Mohr Park
on May 20, 2020 at 8:27 am
sanity, Mohr Park
on May 20, 2020 at 8:27 am
3 people like this

Awesome...you are going to kill downtown with this. Mark my words.


Al Bronzini
another community
on May 20, 2020 at 11:07 am
Al Bronzini, another community
on May 20, 2020 at 11:07 am
6 people like this

A GREAT IDEA
During the Main Street. project of the early nineties there was considerable discussion as to whether it should be a four lane thoroughfare ,or make it more pedestrian friendly such as it is now with the wide sidewalks for outdoor dining and merchandising. The latter was obviously the right choice. Saturday’s and Sunday’s Downtown have been Very active for years because of event driven pedestrian traffic.
The closing of Main Street for a designated period of time is a great idea, we need to get pedestrians Downtown again.
Downtown Pleasanton has a very strong and creative PDA (Pleasanton Downtown Association) and Economic Development Department. This is the time to turn defeat into victory. Do it now make it happen.
P. Town will come back.


Ditto
Vintage Hills
on May 21, 2020 at 9:07 am
Ditto, Vintage Hills
on May 21, 2020 at 9:07 am
5 people like this

Early this week I emailed the PDA suggesting a night (not all week) to close traffic on Main to allow restaurants to put tables in the street and to possibly do a sidewalk sale for merchants. I was thanked for encouraging downtown business but that "unfortunately it is very complicated to close Main Street". I didn't get the idea that anything was going to be done. I find it very disheartening that the city council, Mayor and PDA have done nothing obvious to support our beautiful downtown businesses and the people who have worked their entire lives to be successful on their own...unless I missed their letters in the paper, announcements on Patch and TV coverage on how they are fighting the county to get us reopened. I wrote the Mayor and received no answer. I wrote two members of the council and did receive a response but there was no action taken. Elon Musk fought Alameda County and won. Why are people in Pleasanton sitting on their hands instead of getting us opened...especially since this Wednesday many many counties in CA are opening up including having indoor seating in restaurants and hair salons. Why not us?


DLC
Old Towne
on May 21, 2020 at 8:34 pm
DLC, Old Towne
on May 21, 2020 at 8:34 pm
4 people like this

1. Ask the business owners what they think
2. Currently we drive up and park directly outside the restaurant to pick up the order pronto. If the proposal is implemented , then we will park away from the restaurant, which is a disincentive to order from the restaurants downtown.
3. Foot traffic will not help the restaurants at this time. Where will they eat?


DLC
Old Towne
on May 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm
DLC, Old Towne
on May 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm
2 people like this

Further, foot traffic will not help the retailers that are forced to be closed.


yes!
Birdland
on May 22, 2020 at 10:09 am
yes!, Birdland
on May 22, 2020 at 10:09 am
3 people like this

I think further foot traffic will help everyone. I always park as close as I can to the restaurant I'm going to. I hardly walk up and down the streets. This might open our eyes to many places downtown. It's worth a try. Ever been to Santa Row? Love it.


Claudette McDermott
Del Prado
on May 25, 2020 at 10:18 am
Claudette McDermott, Del Prado
on May 25, 2020 at 10:18 am
1 person likes this

Hows about opening up a single lane down the middle, one way traffic, with a periodic space for drop off and pick up. Drop off and pick up can be used to assist handicap and a quick Order to go pick up. Merchants on both sides of the street, can use extra space outside of their establishments, to be used how ever they can to meet spacial regulations.


BD
another community
on May 26, 2020 at 10:37 am
BD, another community
on May 26, 2020 at 10:37 am
Like this comment

But parking can be a huge problem.


BD
another community
on May 26, 2020 at 10:47 am
BD, another community
on May 26, 2020 at 10:47 am
2 people like this

Current street parking has some advantages. If we close Main Street, we will need to add some parking spaces somewhere.


Henry
Pleasanton Valley
on May 27, 2020 at 11:20 am
Henry, Pleasanton Valley
on May 27, 2020 at 11:20 am
Like this comment

I’m all for closing Main Street to cars and trucks. (But how do deliveries get made?) Also close it to bikes and skateboards and scooters. They would cause injuries to pedestrians as well as cars. Users can walk bikes or carry skateboards on Main Street.


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